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General News    H2'ed 7/25/19

'2016 Deja vu all over again; Corporate Media's Trashing of Bernie Sanders Starts Anew

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By Dave Lindorff


Bernie Sanders for President
Bernie Sanders for President
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In 2016, we learned that the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton Campaign, even before the primary season began, conspired to sabotage the campaign of her leading opponent for the presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). The conspiracy, that ranged from obtaining campaign debate questions in advance for Clinton and front-loading primaries in states where she could pile up an imposing lead to getting a complicit liberal media to count pledged but unelected and legally uncommitted "super delegates" as being already in Clinton's delegate total (making the Sanders campaign appear quixotic) and also to plant ill-documented and speciously argued hit pieces in news media (including the NY Times and Washington Post) willing to support the effort.

Now, as Sanders' campaign appears to be steadily gaining on the favored establishment candidates, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg, this corrupt effort to sabotage the Democrats' most progressive and most electable candidate, Sanders, is starting up again.

Case in point: an opinion article by Antony Davies and James R Harrigan that ran in the Philadelphia Inquirer 's opinion section today under the headline "Wage hypocrisy by Sanders?" The gist of the two author's argument is that Sanders, who is calling on the campaign trail for a $15/hour federal minimum wage, is a "hypocrite" because he's only paying his own campaign staff a minimum salary of"$36,000 a year. Now that might seem pretty decent compensation for people many of whom would probably be doing their campaign jobs for free if need be (as many do on such campaigns), but Davies and Harrigan, while calculating accurately that for a 40-hour workweek such a salary works out to $17/hr, add, "as is common for campaign workers, and salaried employees more generally, these workers almost always work more than 40 hours per week." They add, with no evidence to prove people are doing it, "For a campaign worker who clocks 50 to 60 hours, $36,000 a year hits between $11 and $13 per hour."

Gee. That sounds terrible, except for the fact that this is a political campaign, not a grinding, demoralizing desk job in a windowless office of some corporate hive. But more importantly and to the point, most Americans who slave away at salaried jobs simply don't get overtime, and under federal employment law such as it is, have no right to claim it.

But here's the real problem with this article: The authors don't identify themselves as libertarian ideologues engaged in a long-term obsessive attack on Sanders and other self-described socialists. As a pair, they have a long back-list of articles going back over a year specifically targeting Sanders' progressive economic ideas with headlines like:

"Paying Teachers What They are Worth" (an attack on Sanders' call for higher pay for teachers that ends up to be an attack on teachers unions and job tenure)

"The Real Story Behind Amazon's Taxes"(an attack on Sanders' criticizing Amazon and its founder Jeff Bezos paying no federal tax, which turns out to be an attack on Social Security and that falsely claims Sanders backed laws that allow Amazon and other companies and their owners to dodge taxes by deducting their losses and investments in prior years from current income.)

"The Billionaires versus the Politicians"(This is an attack on Elizabeth Warren, Sanders and AOC for calling for taxing the wealth of the nation's hundreds of billionaires and multimillionaires. The two authors argue that billionaires "earned" their wealth, ignoring the reality that many, like billionaire poseur Donald Trump inherited it and expect to expect to pass their hoard on to their offspring, and then conclude, "So ask yourself, who represents the bigger threat? The 584 billionaires who offer us things in exchange for our money, and whom we can walk away from at any time by shopping elsewhere? Or the 535 representatives and senators who take our money by threat of force?")

And so on"

I have no objection to such political hacks writing such screeds, but they should be honest about their real identities and agendas, not posing as neutral academics. In Davies' and Harrigan's case, they are clearly hiding who they are from their readers, and perhaps their inattentive editors too.

In the Inquirer commentary, they are self-identified in their bios this way:

Anthony Davis: Assciate. Professor of economics at Duquesne University.

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Dave Lindorff, winner of a 2019 "Izzy" Award for Outstanding Independent Journalism from the Park Center for Independent Media in Ithaca, is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper (more...)
 

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